Lights Out, Words Gone - Bombay Bicycle Club at Sheffield 02 Academy, 05/10/2011

by - Saturday, October 08, 2011

Dog is Dead
If you ask me, a five part harmony done well is an impressive feat. So impressive in fact, that it temporarily blinds me to the fact that the band who are delivering it so beautifully have a terrible, terrible band name. It becomes very apparent within minutes of their set, that Dog Is Dead,( excusing the rather rubbish moniker) have cracked the formula of what makes great music, blending together 1 part foals to 2 parts The Maccabees, with a sprinkling of Bombay and Fleet Foxes to boot.

 Delivering a live sound eminently fuller than that of their folky contemporaries, they are clearly very accomplished musicians, the heart skippingly joyous ‘Young’ and new single ‘Hands Down’ performed to studio precision. Punctuating each song with a murmured ‘thanks’ and a smile from baggy shirted lead singer Joss Van Wilder, this here is a band that are undeniably British in their approach, and highly endearing. Eagle eyed music fans may have noticed the bands appearance in the credits of Skins series 5 last year, playing ‘Glockenspiel Song’; that cheeky snippet simply didn’t do the song justice. Here tonight, the rebellious refrain (We are a mess/we are failures/and we love it!) seems to hit home with many an impatient crowd member, despite many of them never having heard the band before. Enjoy your ignorance now Sheffield, for this band are threatening to go huge.

Dry The River
Self confessed ‘stealth rockers’ Dry The River take to the stage unassumingly, coming across like a Noah and The Whale brought up on the mean streets of Glasgow, beards and tats aplenty, fists grasping violins and glockenspiel beaters as well as the usual guitars. Whilst tracks from their EP ‘Weights And Measures’ may not have reinvented the rule book, in the live setting they prove to be a agreeable enough prospect, and perfectly befitting of tonight's folk influenced indie theme. Tracks ‘Family Tree’ and ‘Bible Belt’ are delivered with conviction, before a thrashy conclusion of ‘Lion's  Den', the cacophony reaching rather impressive heights. A few more tunes up their sleeves, and they might well be on their way to more mainstream success.

Bombay Bicycle Club

Having gathered such cohesive support acts to precede them, Bombay Bicycle Club have a lot to live up to. With three albums tucked snugly into the back pockets of their chinos, it must be near on impossible for them to select a coherent setlist, let alone choose an opener. To many, ‘Shuffle’ proved a slightly erroneous entrance, but to resist the charms of that jangly intro you would need to be pretty much dead inside, and to ignore the onstage chemistry of Jack Steadman and Lucy Rose, blind to go with it. Looking far more comfortable onstage than ever before, their vocal trading in tracks such as ‘Lights Out, Words Gone’ and ‘Leave It’ prove to be highlights, lending a sense of camaraderie previously absent from Bombay shows.

That said, they clearly haven’t turned their backs on the tracks that made them: a rare outing of ‘Rinse Me Down’ positively sparkles with new life, jazzed up substantially from the original acoustic version, and ‘Cancel On Me’ is a show stealer, Steadman’s tall frame thrashing awkwardly but endearingly between the mic and his bandmates, evidently enjoying his good old fashioned rock out. And why shouldn’t he? This is a band who appear to be changing the face of modern British indie one track at a time, whilst being clearly enamoured with the music they are performing. The venue might not be sold out, but for the fans at the front with their arms outstretched towards the band during ‘Evening/Morning’, it appears that Bombay Bicycle Club are indeed ready to owe us anything and everything that they have.

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  1. Nice review! Saw them all last night in Manchester. It was a great show! Still working on my review...
    And if I may say, the list of bands you´ve seen live sure is an impressive mix. Having bands like The Maccabees, Pulp and Rise Against in the same list as Lady Gaga and S Club 7, is probably something you won´t find too often. ;)

  2. Thanks Caroline, yes it is a pretty mad mix, all makes for a varied music taste though which hopefully helps make my writing better. Good luck with your review!

  3. great review! and wow, I'm seriously jealous of all the bands you've seen! aha :)
    Flora x